By Lorraine Genia – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby
South Pacific Brewery (SP) has once again jumped on board the rugby bandwagon, by welcoming the AROB Rugby Football Union to be a part of their corporate social responsibility.
SP will support the 11th edition of the Black Orchid Sevens Tournament in Arawa Town, this weekend.
With total prize money worth K100, 000, and teams from all union’s attending, this year’s tournament is regarded, once again, as the biggest sevens tournament in the country.
Launched on June 8 in the nation’s capital, the 11th Black Orchid Sevens tournament kicks off this weekend for the fist time in Arawa.
Tipped as the biggest sevens tournament on the rugby circuit, the festival this year has not only attracted teams from as far as the Solomon Islands, but has also welcomed a large family of sponsors who play an enormous role in improving rugby union in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
This year’s tournament is a first of many, the most notable being the introduction of a women’s tournament – something which demonstrates the growth of the code in the region.
“Being a very historical event under rugby sevens – it not only includes male sporting excellence, but will also have female competition as well, playing side by side with the men,” said Minister for Sports, Justin Tkatchenko.
There will 24 men’s teams and six women’s teams from around the country coming to Arawa .
Tkatchenko also said “the competition is all about bringing the country together in a place where its had its fair share of problems.”
But Tkatchenko isn’t the only one ecstatic to be a part of this year’s tournament.
The biggest union in the nation, the Capital Rugby Union (CRU), has also recognised Bougainville’s efforts and commitment to growing the game.
“It’s all about the people and the essence of which people of Bougainville have come from – rugby union is the vehicle in which brings the people together. And as the biggest competition in the country, the rightful thing to do to promote rugby is to be a part of the competition,” said CRU President, Jacob Anga.
While CRU holds the better position in obtaining this year’s title, there will be strong competition expected from all unions, particularly the home grown Black Orchids.
Former Pukpuks Coach Billy Rapilla will also bring a team from the Aroma Coast, and coming off a narrow loss to the Black Orchids last year in Madang at the Kalibobo Lighthouse Sevens, this tournament could pose the perfect opportunity for the men from the central coastline to snatch the 2016 Black Orchid championship title.